Chip giant Intel opened up the first of four 45nm fabrication plants today in Chandler, Arizona representing a $3 billion investment for the company.

The new plant, named Fab 32, will produce Intel's 45 nm processors, including the Penryn family for desktop, laptop, servers and workstations. Intel confirmed it is scheduled to launch its first 45 nm processors – for servers and workstations – on November 12.

According to the firm, the new fabrication plant is its first high volume plant geared towards making 45nm chips. These chips represent the smallest manufacturing process in commercial production. Small processes can mean higher speeds and lower power consumption, according to industry experts.

The opening of Fab 32 in Arizona today is a testament to Intel's continued investment in our most strategic asset -- the most advanced, environmentally friendly manufacturing network in the world, said Paul Otellini, Intel president.

Fab 32 is Intel's sixth 300 mm wafer factory, contains 184,000 square feet of clean room space and measures 1 million square feet -- large enough for more than 17 U.S. football fields to fit inside the building. More than 1,000 employees will operate the factory.

Intel also noted that Fab 32 will be among its most environmentally-friendly factories, incorporating a number of energy and water conservation measures. The 45 nm process itself results in a 15 percent reduction in global warming emissions, the company touted.

Intel's other two 45 nm fabs include Fab 11X, located in Rio Rancho, N.M., which the company said in February will invest $1 to $1.5 billion to retool for 45 nm manufacturing, with production set to begin next year; Intel is also investing $3.5 billion to build Fab 28 in Kiryat Gat, Israel, with production set to begin in the first half of next year.